Sunday, May 27, 2007

What a Delightful Mess

My trip to Oak Hill Cemetery yesterday and the purchase of the new history book of the area has already paid off for me in a genealogical sense. I've discovered another tangled web of family that can't really be described in a coherent manner.

I already knew I had a massive family tangle in my Mason and McAfee lines by virtue of the fact that my great-grandfather Mason's daughter by his first marriage married the half-brother of his second wife.

Now it turns out that I have another tangle in my Mason line. Until last night I knew next to nothing about the family of Burl Mason's first wife. I had not really pursued that line since I had no blood connection to it. I thought.

Turns out that the Fariss line intermarried heavily with my Mason kinfolk and the snarl of family connections will entertain me for awhile. I just have to hit the high spots here so you know what I'm dealing with. (This is what we genealogists call "fun".)

Burl's first wife Pinkie Fariss was not, as I had thought, the daughter of the James Fariss who was killed in the train wreck in Smithville. She was the sister of that James Farris and of the Cass Farris who was severely injured in the same wreck. Also killed in that wreck was a William F. Ashley, who was the widower of Burl's sister Hulda Ellen.

Follow the bouncing ball, if you can.

William Ashley, the widower of Hulda Ellen Mason Ashley, remarried to Mary B. Adkins. Mary B. Adkins turns out to be an older sister of Pinkie Fariss (first wife of Burl Mason). Mary Fariss had married first to L. C. Adkins and one of their daughters, Mary E. "Bettie" Adkins, married John William Mason, the brother of Burl and Hulda. With me so far?

But wait, there's more.

Another Fariss sister, Jane, married five times and one of those husbands was a James C. Byrum. Jane's daughter Nora, by another husband named Crockett (I think), had a son named James. This James ends up being raised by his grandmother Jane and takes the name Byrum. (It is not made clear whether he assumes this name or if his mother took the name of Jane's husband and this James was illegitimate or just what happened here. But the book specifically notes that the grandson James Byrum moved to Rusk. I may just have to look up the contributor for this bit of family story and get a clearer explanation.)

James Byrum of Rusk, Texas, was married to Annie Mae Mason, daughter of Burl and his second wife Nettie McAfee Rose Mason.

At this point I am willing to bet that my Aunt Sallie Mobley who married a Thomas Fariss is going to end up being connected to this same Fariss bunch. I've never pursued him either, but now I may just have to do a little digging around and see.

{Rubbing my hands together in satisfaction.}


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